Luminar, the country's biggest late-night venue operator, released Christmas trading figures this morning which showed refurbished units improving-like-for like sales by 25% while total group like for likes fell 3%. The company said the Chicago Rock Cafe chain had responded particularly strongly to the increased spend on refurbishment, with like-for-like sales across all outlets falling by 1% for the five weeks to January 4, against a drop of 10% in the first half of the year. Luminar confirmed it was looking at converting some of its High Street square footage to gaming and was "in advance negotiations" to form a joint venture, although it did not name the company press reports have said is its likely partner, Accor of France. Luminar said the joint venture was expected to be largely self financing and it did not anticipate "significant" new capital commitment to an expansion into gaming "in the short term", meaning until gaming deregulation goes through some time around 2005. The company said plans to put much of the estate into four different brands were progressing well, with pilot units now open for Life and Lava/Ignite. It said Tim Roberts, who is curently managing Luminar's largest dancing division has been appointed to manage the new Unbranded Dancing division, home for those units which will not fit into any of the four brands, from 1 March.